Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been dead for years, but one of his top aides may be haunting Senator Bob Menendez, using his perch as John Fetterman’s chief of staff to do it.
Adam Jentleson, a combative former Reid staffer, is a mover and shaker in Fetterman’s office — and the Pennsylvanian was the first Senate Democrat to demand Menendez call it quits this week, in almost personal terms: the statement went as far as to compare the Democrat to Tony Soprano.
But why would the sweatshirt-clad gentle giant care so much? It could have something to do with how Jentleson worked for Reid, one of the Iran Deal’s most important proponents. After hemming and hawing, Reid threw his support to the Iran Deal during his final months in office — but Menendez’s fervent opposition to it made him a fly in the ointment of Senate Democrats. Jentleson himself has attacked Dems such as Representative Shontel Brown for straying from the party line on the Iran Deal in the past.
Now, the Biden DoJ is once again throwing the kitchen sink at Menendez, giving the 2015 gang a chance to bring everyone back together. Back then, Jentleson was Reid’s deputy chief of staff for comms. And it’s not just Jentleson who’s stoked; Ben Rhodes, who admitted taking the national press corps for a spin with his creative writing background to push for a nuclear deal with the mullahs in Tehran, is also excited that Menendez may be on the outs…
House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry flub
Despite conventional wisdom, the House GOP push to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is surprisingly popular.
Its opening salvo, however, fell flat. Republicans faced optics problems due to the cautious nature of the witnesses that they summoned. One, forensic accountant Bruce Dubinsky, said he was “not here today to even suggest that there was corruption, fraud, or any wrongdoing.”
The entire point of the escalated inquiry is to get those results, after all — however, soundbites like that from Dubinsky and another GOP witness, Jonathan Turley, who told the committee that he did not see grounds for articles of impeachment, make for a rough row to hoe.
Republicans are trying to draw a fine line between an impeachment inquiry, which gives them increased investigative power, and outright impeaching the 46th president — a line that will be tougher to draw when Republicans in office such as Ken Buck, a Freedom Caucus member and vocal opponent of impeaching Biden, are pouring cold water on the matter.
None of this is to say that Democrats on the Oversight Committee acquitted themselves particularly well. At one point, freshman Democrat Jasmine Crockett insisted that the only thing Biden is truly guilty of is being a loving father.
Sometimes, first impressions last a lifetime; other times, they couldn’t matter less. From what Cockburn is hearing, even from Republicans, Oversight chair James Comer needs to focus on the granular specifics, and not get over his skis with the claims he’s making about corruption in the Biden family. Time will tell.
Cenk yourself before you wreck yourself
The usually shy and retiring Cenk Uygur was making noise this week about the possibility of him running for president in 2024. The Young Turks mogul said he was “considering” a run against Joe Biden on Breaking Points with Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti. “Have I reached out to staff? I have,” he told the hosts. Uygur is trepidatious about jumping in after his failed run for Congress in 2019, when old blog posts he wrote were resurfaced, in which he referred to women as “poorly designed creatures” and offered his rules for dating, including “if I haven’t felt your tits by [the third date], things are not about to last much longer.”
Cockburn is intrigued by the possibility of an alternative to Biden — but is Uygur even eligible? The blogger was born in Istanbul…
Moderates: HFC shutdown tactics a ‘ploy for campaign dollars’
The House Freedom Caucus and mainstream Republicans came together to craft a continuing resolution that pleased seemingly everyone but the mercurial Matt Gaetz — but there is some discontent among Main Street-types that their priorities are being sidelined.
“Are you surprised that these fools are causing maximum chaos this close to the end of the quarter?” one frustrated Republican congressman, aligned with the party’s governing wing, told Cockburn. “This is yet another ploy for campaign dollars, but they’re holding the entire country hostage for their own enrichment.
“Remember these names — these Freedom Caucus members will be responsible for border security missing a paycheck while we already have a record number of illegal immigrants crossing our borders daily.”